Barnes to start opener for Warriors. Will Bogut?

October 29, 2012, 11:21 pm
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OAKLAND -- It wasnt a big deal to Warriors head coach MarkJackson, but that doesnt mean it wasnt a big deal to Harrison Barnes.Jackson had said all along in preseason that not only did henot know who was going to start at small forward this season for the Warriorsbut that it didnt really matter who did.Either Barnes, a rookie, or Brandon Rush was going to start,according to Jackson, and the guy who didnt was going to play plenty anyway.Well, two days before the Warriors open their 2012-13 regular season againstthe Suns in Phoenix, Jackson said Barnes would start.Harrison Barnes will be my starting small forward, Jacksonsaid after Mondays practice. Its well-deserved. I could have gone eitherway. Brandon Rush had a very good preseason. I just think its a better rolefor Rush coming off the bench either coming in for (shooting guard) Klay(Thompson) or Harrison.And I think Harrison earned it. He played very well, and Ithought his last game was his best performance. With that group, well be ableto utilize some of his strengths athletic ability, slashing ability. Hes aguy that has shown I can trust him defensively. He competes. Its a greataccomplishment for him, but were not done individually orcollectively.Barnes, 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, averaged 10.4 points, on 49percent shooting, and 3.3 rebounds in 25 minutes per game in eight preseasongames. He started the last six preseason games, including last Tuesday: a107-92 victory over the Suns at Oracle. In that game he had 16 points (on5-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range) and sevenrebounds in 24 minutes.It means a lot, said Barnes, whom the Warriors selected outof North Carolina with the No. 7 pick in the June draft. Obviously, to play inthe NBA and start as a rookie thats a huge accomplishment. But my mindsetisnt going to change just to go out and provide all the little things that Ican to help the team win.With Barnes now named the starting small forward, fourGolden State starters are known: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Barnes and DavidLee. The only remaining question is whether Andrew Bogut or Festus Ezeli willstart at center.RELATED: Bogut goes through entire Warriors practice
Bogut hasnt played since he fractured his left ankle whileplaying for the Milwaukee Bucks in January. But in his first full-contact, five-on-fivepractice with the Warriors on Monday, Bogut ran with the starting unit. Bogutwas cleared for all basketball-related activities a week ago. The original planhad Bogut playing a preseason game or two before the opener.But Bogut missed all eight preseason games, and its unknownwhether hell play in the first regular-season game. He went contact, he went through all the drills, Jacksonsaid of Bogut. Live offensively and defensively. He showed what type of aweapon hes going to be for us.If Bogut isnt ready to start by Wednesday, Ezeli will getthe start. Andris Biedrins, who missed a good chunk of the preseason with agroin injury, participated in all of practice on Monday.

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